Milwaukee Brewers: Other Position Player Trade Targets

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - JUNE 25: Trey Mancini #16 of the Baltimore Orioles runs against the San Diego Padres at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 25, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - JUNE 25: Trey Mancini #16 of the Baltimore Orioles runs against the San Diego Padres at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 25, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
2 of 5

The second and third-tier options, also referred to as solid options or depth, are likely to be much more plentiful than the options are on the pitching market this summer. Let’s take a look at the players who could make an  impact on the Milwaukee Brewers if they were acquired in a trade. We’ll divide this list by position/roles starting with first base.

There are a few first basemen on the market who could make an impact for a contending team. Though the Milwaukee Brewers don’t have really have a need at first anymore, it’s still worth visiting what options might be out there if they change their mind.

Trey Mancini, RHB, Baltimore Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles may be horrible this season, but that hasn’t stopped Trey Mancini from having a career year.

Mancini is having his best offensive season of his career to date. His slash line stands at .289/.350/.539, the latter two of which are career bests. He’s reduced his K% to a career low (21.6%), increased his walk rate to a career high (7.9%), and he’s only three home runs behind his totals in each of his first two Major League seasons (21 this year compared to 24 in each of the previous two seasons). His well-above-average WRC+ of 130 shows just how great his offensive production has been in 2019.

Mancini’s value, however, comes exclusively from his bat. Though he’s at least passable defensively at first base, he’s spent much of 2019 playing in right field where his defense is among the worst in the Majors. That hasn’t stopped him from being a 2.0 WAR player so far according to FanGraphs.

Given that he’s still relatively young (27), and is under contract through 2023, it seems unlikely that the Orioles would consider moving him. That said, he’s essentially the only player on their roster capable of landing them a sizable return in a trade. That’s a significant incentive for a team that’s in the midst of what’s going to be a very slow and painful rebuild to move him. Keep an eye on him in the coming days.

Jose Abreu, RHB, Chicago White Sox

Jose Abreu has consistently found himself in the conversation among the best first basemen in the American League. Though he’s no longer that kind of impact talent, he’s still a solid bat at that position.

Abreu’s bat still grades out as above the league average. Though his BB% is a career worst in 2019 (4.6%), his WRC+ is still above average (106) thanks to a solid batting average (.271) and slugging percentage (.487). He’s on pace to approach 30+ home runs for the third time in his career.

He’s never been a quality defender. At this point in his career he’s essentially relegated to being a DH. That said, he can still be a valuable bat.

With him set to hit the free agent market this winter, there’s little incentive for Chicago to keep hold of him ahead of the deadline. Look for Abreu to be linked with moves away.

Justin Smoak, Switch Hitter, Toronto Blue Jays

Justin Smoak has been a nice story. After looking like a busted prospect several seasons ago, Smoak found his footing with Toronto over the past three seasons, emerging as one of the better power bats in the Majors.

Smoak is in the midst of another fine offensive season in 2019. Though his batting average sits at just .212 at the moment, Smoak has been drawing walks at a career best rate of 16.2%. That’s helping to prop up his OPS to .758 despite having a slugging percentage that his just north of .400 (.407). His WRC+ of 106 suggests he’s still been above-the-league-average offensively.

Defensively, Smoak isn’t nearly as much of a liability as Abreu or Mancini, but he’s still below average.

Anyone looking to acquire Smoak will be hoping for a hot second half. He’s coming off 3.6 and 1.7 WAR seasons. He’s also under contract at a reasonable amount through 2020. Look for the Blue Jays to entertain offers for him.

Depth Options at First Base

Beyond these three solid options, one other player could be worth a look at first base.

Dominic Smith, LHB, New York Mets

Dominic Smith was one of the Mets highest rated prospects just a few short seasons ago,  but he struggled significantly in his first two stints in the Majors. In 2019, Smith may be finding his stride.

Smith is in the midst of a fine offensive season. His slash line is currently all career bests, standing at .291/.368/.533. The hit and power tools that gave him much of his prospect value are finally beginning to show up in 2019. His WRC+ stands well-above-average at 139.

Because of Peter Alonso‘s emergence as a potential star at first base, Smith has split time between his natural position and left field. He’s actually been an a good defender in left this season, posting average or better metrics in several defensive categories.

With Alonso blocking his path at first base, the Mets will have to make a decision on what to do with Smith. They may keep him given his age (24) and his controllable years. However, they may still be open to a deal if they believe he can’t be a long-term option in left field. Teams would be wise to inquire about him, even if he’s extremely unlikely to move.